The Formation of Prosociality: Causal Evidence on the Role of Social Environment

40 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2016

See all articles by Fabian Kosse

Fabian Kosse

University of Bonn

Thomas Deckers

University of Bonn

Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch

Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Armin Falk

briq - Institute on Behavior & Inequality

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Abstract

This study presents descriptive and causal evidence on the role of social environment for the formation of prosociality. In a first step, we show that socio-economic status (SES) as well as the intensity of mother-child interaction and mothers’ prosocial attitudes are systematically related to elementary school children’s prosociality. In a second step, we present evidence on a randomly assigned variation of the social environment, providing children with a mentor for the duration of one year. Our data include a two-year follow-up and reveal a significant and persistent increase in prosociality in the treatment relative to the control group. Moreover, enriching the social environment bears the potential to close the observed developmental gap in prosociality between low and high SES children. Our findings suggest that the program serves as a substitute for prosocial stimuli in the family environment.

Keywords: social preferences, prosociality, formation of preferences, trust, social inequality

JEL Classification: D64, C90

Suggested Citation

Kosse, Fabian and Deckers, Thomas and Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah and Falk, Armin, The Formation of Prosociality: Causal Evidence on the Role of Social Environment. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9861. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2761338

Fabian Kosse (Contact Author)

University of Bonn ( email )

Regina-Pacis-Weg 3
Postfach 2220
Bonn, D-53012
Germany

Thomas Deckers

University of Bonn ( email )

Regina-Pacis-Weg 3
Postfach 2220
Bonn, D-53012
Germany

Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch

Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf ( email )

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Armin Falk

briq - Institute on Behavior & Inequality

Schaumburg-Lippe-Straße 5-9
Bonn, 53113
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.briq-institute.org/

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